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Ness Notes: Friday, Oct 9

by Larry Ness

Friday, Oct 09, 2020

This column will be available Monday through Friday (posted no later than 1:00 ET), EXCLUSIVELY at BigAl.com. I like to call it my daily 'random thoughts' on the sports betting world, although I'll pass along that my therapist refers to it as "thoughtful commentary."NBA Finals: The Lakers rolled in Game 1 by the score of 116-98 and took Game 2 by 10 points (124-114), as Miami was with Dragic and Adebayo. Despite playing without those two starters in Game 3, Miami's starters outscored the Lakers' starting five 89-51 and Jimmy Butler played "the game of his life," with 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. Butler became the 21st player to have a triple-double in the NBA Finals but it was just the third 40-point triple-double in Finals history. Adebayo returned for Miami in Game 4  (scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 33 minutes) but Butler was able to score just 25 points (down from 40). The Heat used just three players off the bench and that trio combined for 13 points while shooting an abysmal 4 of 18 (22.2%). LBJ was his usual self (28-12-8) and A.D. bounced from a poor game (15 points) with 22 points and nine rebounds, while starting LA guards Caldwell-Pope and Green combined to score 25 points. LA's bench outscored Miami's 27-13. The Heat stayed with the Lakers all game and the final was 102-96. Herro nailed a three-pointer with 1.1 seconds to go to give Miami the cover. The Heat fell to 13-6 SU this postseason but are 15-4 ATS, while the Lakers are 15-4 SU but just 10-8-1 ATS. Playoff numbers to-date: Favorites are just 40-39-2 ATS, while the under has cashed in 47 of the 81 games (58.0 percent). For those following the "Zig-Zag" Theory (that means playing "on" the SU loser of the previous game), they've gone 30-33-2 ATS (47.6%) or minus-6.3 net units. Game 5 tips tonight at 9:00 ET on ABC. The Lakers are looking for their first title since 2010, when they defeated the Boston Celtics in seven games. A win in Game 5 (or in Game 6 or 7) would give the franchise its 17th title all-time, which would tie them with the Celtics for most in NBA history. LBJ is looking for his FOURTH NBA title in his 10th Finals. Many like to play "the G.O.A.T game" of comparing him to MJ but "I Like Mike," who was SIX-for-SIX in NBA Finals' appearances, winning MVP honors in each one. Anthony Davis is one win away from his first NBA title. "They're going to make adjustments," Davis said after Tuesday's 102-96 victory by the Lakers, giving them a 3-1 edge in the best-of-seven game series. "We have to be prepared for it." Ask Miami's Jimmy Butler and despite the hole the team is in, believes the Heat are capable of rallying. "We just got to lock in on us knowing that we can control a lot of these things," Butler said. "But our confidence ain't going nowhere. It's going to stay high. I'm going to make sure that it stays high because it's going to have to be at an all-time to get this next win." LA is favored by seven points and the over/under is 216. Game 6, if necessary, is scheduled for Sunday. My next Ness Notes is Monday, so I'll be back with a recap of the Finals OR, a preview of Game 7. MLB Playoffs: The Braves beat the Marlins 3-0 in Game 3, giving Atlanta a three-game sweep and its first trip to the NLCS since 2001 (note: the Marlins had won all SEVEN of their previous postseason series!). In the process, the Braves became just the SECOND team in MLB history to throw four shutouts in their first five playoff games, joining the 1905 New York Giants behind Hall of Famers Christy Mathewson and Joe McGinnity. The Braves have already pitched the most postseason shutouts in franchise history and are one shutout shy of tying the MLB record for most in a postseason set by the 2016 Indians over 15 games. Awaiting the Braves in the NLCS will be the LA Dodgers, who complete a three-game sweep of their own with a 12-3 win over the Padres. Los Angeles advanced to its fourth NL Championship Series in five years and the team with MLB's best regular season record in 2020 (43-17), will be making their 14th NLCS appearance, matching the St Louis Cardinals for the most. The Dodgers and Braves will open the best-of-seven NLCS on Monday in the Texas Rangers' new $1.2 billion stadium with fans in attendance for the first time during this pandemic-altered season.Over in the American League, the Houston Astros beat the Oakland A's 11-6, eliminating the AL West champs, 3 games to one. Houston 'snuck into' the postseason despite a 29-31 record but improved to 5-1 in the playoffs. The Astros and A's combined for 24 HRs (12 each), the most in a postseason series of five games or fewer. The Astros ranked 20th in the majors with a .240 average and 14th with 279 runs during the regular season and while their batting slump continued through the wild-card round, Houston batted .322 as a team in the ALDS, scoring 33 runs (8.3 per) with those 12 HRs. Few people outside of Houston are rooting for the Astros these days but one has to feel good for Dusty Baker, their 71-year-old manager. He earned his first closeout win since the 2003 NLDS, improving (?) to 4-13 in closeout games. The Astros will head to San Diego's Petco Park to await the winner of Game 5 between the Yankees and Rays.The Tampa Bay Rays went an AL-Best 40-20 during the regular season and captured the AL East title for the first time since 2010. In the process, the Rays took EIGHT of 10 from the Yankees but I doubt anyone on Tampa Bay expected their ALDS with their hated rivals would be a 'walk in the park.' The Yankees won 9-3 ion Game 1, while the Rays rebounded to win Games 2 and 3, 7-5 and 8-4. However, the Yankees didn't flinch under the pressure of an elimination game, as Luke Voit and Gleyber Torres hit impressive HRs, while Jordan Montgomery and three relievers combined on a three-hitter. The Yankees beat the Rays 5-1 Thursday night to even the best-of-5 series at 2-all. The Yankees are trying to reach the ALCS for the THIRD time in four seasons following eliminations by the Astros at that stage in 2017 and last season. Meanwhile, the Rays are trying to advance to the ALCS for the first time since 2008, when they made it to their only World Series. Somewhat ironically, the pitching matchup of Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow is a rematch of last year's ALDS Game 5 between Houston and Tampa Bay. I'm NOT sure why MLB decided to play the four Division Series WITHOUT a day off (Championship Series will be contested without any days off, as well), as it has taxed the pitching staffs of all teams and in particular any that are forced to "go the distance." That's the case here with the Rays and Yanks. Cole will pitch on three days' rest for the FIRST in his career, while Glasnow is being asked to pitch on TWO days' rest. New York is favored (-155) and the over/under is  7 1/2.Note: Game 5 of NY/TB is my 10* Division Series Game of the Year.The NFL opened its Week 5  with 3-1 Tampa Bay visiting 3-1 Chicago. The Bucs came in on a three-game winning streak and with all due respect to the Bears' 3-1 start, their three wins had come over a trio of teams that owned a combined 1-11 record. Tom Brady never lost to Chicago in five meetings as a member of the Patriots and was liking 'itching' to get another shot at Nick Foles, facing him for the first time since New England lost to Philadelphia in Super Bowl 52. However, the six-time champion came up short, as Chicago won 20-19. Brady threw for 253 yards and one TD but he and the Bucs couldn't finish their drives, settling for four FGs (three inside of 40 yards). Foles, the Super Bowl 52 MVP, completed 30 of 42 passes for 243 yards and a TD in his second start after replacing Mitchell Trubisky. Green Bay and Detroit have byes in Week 5 plus the schedule has been 'shuffled' due to COVID-19 issues. For the SECOND consecutive week we will have a MNF doubleheader, as the Denver/New England game has been moved from Sunday to Monday, joining the regularly scheduled MNF contest between the Chargers and Saints. There was early talk that game might be moved to Indianapolis because of Hurricane Delta, but that's no longer an issue. What's more, the 4-0 Bills were scheduled to play the 3-0 Titans in Nashville on Sunday but while the game will go on, it has been moved to TUESDAY! The Bills (-8.5) and Titans are two of SIX teams still unbeaten. The 4-0 Packers and Seahawks are both also 4-0 ATS and while the Packers have a bye week, Seattle will host the 1-3 Vikings on SNF (Seattle is favored by seven points). The defending Super Bowl champions Chiefs are 4-0 (3-1 ATS) have won 13 straight games (including a 3-0 run in last year's postseason) and will host the 2-2 Raiders, laying 11.5 points (and seemingly climbing). The Steelers are the last of the NFL's six unbeatens at 3-0 and after having their game at Tennessee postponed last Sunday, will welcome in-state rival Philadelphia to the Steel City on Sunday (Pittsburgh is favored by seven points). The Eagles are 1-2-1 but reside in first-place in the pathetic NFC East, ahead of 1-3 Dallas and Washington, plus the 0-4 NY Giants. NFC East teams are 3-12-1 SU and 5-11 ATS. In contrast, AFC West teams are a combined 11-5 ATS.There remain four winless NFL teams, as the Falcons, Giants, Jets and Texans are all 0-4. The Falcons, Jets and Texans are all also 0-4 ATS, while the Giants are 2-2. With Chicago's win last night, home teams moved to 26-22 SU, while going just 21-25-2 ATS in 2020 (Home dogs are now 5-13 SU and 8-8-2 ATS). I mentioned in Thursday's Notes that NFL games have averaged a combined 51.3 through four weeks of a season, the highest since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Last night's game stayed under but overs still lead unders at 26-20-2 (56.5%). Linemakers have adjusted totals higher very quickly.Good luck...Larry

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Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB, NCAAF and NBA Preview

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Oct 09, 2020

Only three games feature on the Friday card from the four major sporting events, yet all three events are high-profile games that will broadcast on national television. The last remaining playoff series still to be settled in the divisional round is the AL East showdown between Tampa Bay and New York. The Yankees forced a final fifth game of their ALDS on Thursday with their 5-1 victory over the Rays. New York turns back to Gerrit Cole as their Game 5 starting pitcher. Tampa Bay counters with Tyler Glasnow, who pitched on Tuesday. Blake Snell will likely be the Rays’ first pitcher coming out of their bullpen with him having an extra day of rest after facing off against Cole in the opening game of this series on Monday. This series is taking place at the neutral site of Petco Park in San Diego. Tampa Bay is the designated home team, who will bat last in this game. The Yankees are favored -146 on the moneyline, with the total set at 7.5 (all odds provided by BetAnySports). TBS has the broadcast with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM ET. The winner of this game plays the Houston Astros on Sunday in San Diego in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. The NBA Finals continues on Friday after a rare two-day break in the Orlando bubble. Los Angeles took a 3-1 lead in this series on Tuesday with their 102-96 victory over Miami. The Heat’s Bam Adebayo played over 33 minutes in the losing effort, despite his neck injury that kept him out of Games 2 and 3 of this series. But Goran Dragic remains doubtful to return to the court for this game with the foot injury he suffered in Game 1. The Lakers are a 7-point favorite to win the NBA championship tonight. The over/under is 216. ABC has the broadcast starting at 9 PM ET.Two teams from the ACC look to snap two-game losing streaks in a nationally-televised game on ESPN at 7 PM ET. Louisville’s season started well with a 35-21 victory over Western Kentucky. But the Cardinals have disappointed, albeit against quality competition, in successive losses to Miami (FL) and then Pittsburgh two weeks ago by a 23-20 score. Georgia Tech opened its season with a 16-13 comeback victory Florida State. The Yellow Jackets have since lost to Central Florida and then at Syracuse two weeks ago by a 37-20 score despite being a 7.5-point favorite. These two teams have played only one other time, but it was just two years ago when the Yellow Jackets rolled to a 66-31 victory in the final season of Paul Johnson’s 11 years running the Georgia Tech program. Louisville is a 5-point road favorite with the total set at 64. ESPN televises the game with the kickoff shortly after 7 PM ET.

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NCAA Friday Night Football: Georgia Tech/Louisville Preview

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Oct 09, 2020

Two teams from the ACC look to snap two-game losing streaks in a nationally-televised game on ESPN at 7 PM ET.Expectations were high for Louisville this season with them returning sixteen starters, including their quarterback, from last year’s group that went 8-5 with a victory over Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl. Head coach Scott Satterfield was able to get half his spring practices in as well in his second year with the program before things shut down due to COVID. The Cardinals season started well with a 35-21 victory over Western Kentucky. But Louisville has disappointed, albeit against quality competition, in successive losses to Miami (FL) and Pittsburgh. The setback to the Panthers two weeks ago by a 23-20 score was concerning given the play of junior quarterback Micale Cunningham. He completed only 9 of 21 passes for 107 yards while throwing three interceptions. Cunningham has thrown five interceptions in three games in a disturbing trend for Satterfield. He has also tossed seven touchdown passes, which are eighth-most in the nation. Cunningham had 22 touchdowns last year after taking over the quarterbacking duties for the team in the second game of the season. He led the country with a 194.45 passer efficiency rating, which broke a school record. Georgia Tech opened its season with a 16-13 comeback victory Florida State. The Yellow Jackets have since lost to Central Florida and then at Syracuse two weeks ago by a 37-20 score despite being a 7.5-point favorite. Georgia Tech is also getting inconsistent play from their quarterback. The second-year head coach tapped his highly-touted true freshman Jeff Sims as his starter who rewarded his coach by overseeing that victory against the Seminoles. However, Sims has thrown six interceptions this season after getting picked off four times by the Orange. Sims has been successfully running the ball in Collins’ spread offensive attack. He has rushed for 187 yards while reaching the end zone twice. The Yellow Jackets have also gotten 171 rushing yards from running back Jahmyr Gibbs and 140 rushing yards from running back Jamious Griffin. Collins brought in three transfers from SEC programs in the offseason to add size to an offensive line that was recruited for its quickness to operate in the triple-option offense under previous head coach Paul Johnson. Georgia Tech expected to be much better than last year’s 3-9 team in the first year in the Collins era, who changed schemes on both sides of the football. Nineteen starters returned from that group that had only 11 seniors (third lowest in the FBS). These two teams have played only one other time, but it was just two years ago when the Yellow Jackets rolled to a 66-31 victory in the final season of Johnson’s 11 years running the Georgia Tech program. BetAnySports has Louisville as a 5-point road favorite with the total set at 64.

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How to Read Baseball Odds

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Oct 09, 2020

How to read baseball oddsEach year, millions of American sports fans find entertainment in a great variety of games throughout the country and beyond.  One of the four major sports in the United States is baseball.  And baseball is bigger in the USA than in any other country.  It might seem like a simple sport at first, but it's home to some of the most well-paid athletes in the world.  And there’s lots of money to be made by baseball bettors, simultaneously.In Major League Baseball (MLB), 30 teams compete throughout the entire season.  Each team has 162 games on its regular season schedule, so there are a lot of wagering opportunities for bettors.  Beyond that, the game, itself, involves a lot of strategy.  The managers of baseball teams actively shuffle pitching rotations, substitute players, and are entrusted with making decisions on literally every pitch.  It's a sport where anything can happen at any moment.  And that is what makes it popular among gamblers, who try to find an edge through understanding how managers and players operate.In this betting guide, we'll review all that there is to baseball betting.  With a diverse sport comes a diverse range of bets, yet the most popular bets are fairly similar to other major sports like the NFL and the NBA. Getting started with MLB betting When you think of baseball, you will probably imagine a hitter ready to swing his bat against the ball as hard as possible, aiming for that home run.  But after you watch a little baseball, you'll notice the sport is much more complicated than merely hitting home runs.  When betting on MLB, you can make things as simple, or as complicated as you want.  We'll get started with the purest forms of baseball betting, and then move on towards the more complicated wager types.  However, first, we'll dive into reading the odds to give you a proper understanding of the different wager types.Reading baseball oddsBetting odds come in several shapes and forms.  Sports betting is a global industry, and thus there are various forms of odds.  The main types are the fractional odds, decimal odds, and moneyline odds.  The fractional odds and decimal odds are what one will typically see in the United Kingdom and Europe, while the moneyline odds are the most common type in the United States.  These are the most commonly used odds in baseball betting, as well.  Let’s start with a quick example of a matchup between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers to explain how these betting odds work: New York Yankees +153 Los Angeles Dodgers -168 You can see two teams with either a plus sign or minus sign followed by numbers alongside their names.  The plus sign designates the underdog, while the minus sign indicates the favored team.  In this example, the Yankees are the underdog, while the Dodgers are the favorite.  Thus the oddsmakers think the Dodgers are more likely to win the game.Calculate your payout with baseball oddsReading baseball odds is not super tricky as it's similar to other sports using the moneyline odds.  It all comes down to the dollar signs, so let's see how you can calculate your payout when you're wagering on a baseball game.  We'll take the same example as above between the Yankees and the Dodgers: New York Yankees +153 Los Angeles Dodgers -168 As mentioned before, we now know the Yankees are the underdog, and the Dodgers are the favorite.  When the final score is in, we know which team wins.  You should understand that the moneyline odds are based on a $100 wager. This brings us to two possible scenarios: If you bet $100 on the underdog -- the Yankees -- to win the game, and they do, then you would earn $153 on top of your initial stake, which would make your total payout $253 If you bet on the favorite -- the Dodgers -- to win the game, then you need to wager $168 to win $100 on top of your initial stake of $168.  Your total payout would be $268. This gives you a clear explanation of how the bookmakers create the odds.  And you’re not restricted to betting $100; you can wager any amount you wish.Moneyline betting​The moneyline bet is one of the most popular, and one of the easiest bets to understand.  You simply pick which team wins the game.  That means you chose whether the total runs scored by your team is higher than the other team.  The examples we previously used between the Yankees and Dodgers are both examples of moneyline bets.Over/under bettingThe over/under wager is also known as a totals bet.  In this wager type, you look at the total runs scored by both teams combined in the game.  With sports like the NFL or the NBA, totals bets provide a lot of excitement, as many points are scored all the time.  In contrast, the run production in baseball is a lot lower, with most games averaging around nine runs.  When evaluating an over/under line, bettors need to consider anything that could lead to an increase in the total number of runs.  That means researching pitching and hitting matchups, defense, bullpens, and even ballpark factors and weather conditions.  The betting line at BookMaker for Game 1 of the 2019 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals looked like this: Over 6.5 (-115) Under 6.5 (-105) If you though the total number of runs would be seven or more, then you would have selected the over, at -115 odds.  But if you believed there would be six runs or less, then you would have gone with the under, at -105 odds.  That means you would have needed to wager $115 to win $100 on the over, but just $105 to win $100 on the under.  The over/under is a great betting option when you're uncertain about which team will win, but you are confident about the degree of scoring.Run-line bettingIn other sports, like football and basketball, these bets are called point spread bets.  But since there are no “points” in baseball, the term run-line wager is used.  But it’s essentially the same thing.  Typically, you either lay or take 1.5 runs, depending on whether you want to bet on the favorite or the underdog.  Unlike the sports of football or basketball, where the point spread bets reign, the run-line wager is less popular in baseball than the moneyline wager.  Indeed, the run-line wager is a relative newcomer to baseball betting.  Initially, gamblers only had a moneyline option when they wanted to pick the winner.  But oddsmakers created the run-line after they saw how popular point spread betting became in football and basketball.  And the run-line was a means to move the odds closer to pk’em, which worked to increase a sportsbook’s handle, since many gamblers would stay away from games with odds of +/- 200 (or higher).  The run-line wager is fairly straightforward.  You pick a team to cover the run-line, which is generally 1.5 runs, but may be 2 or 2.5 runs, if the talent disparity is extremely high.  To illustrate, let's look at an example of a match between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Pittsburgh Pirates: Milwaukee Brewers -1.5 (+110) Pittsburgh Pirates +1.5 (-135) The favored team in this run-line wager is Milwaukee, while Pittsburgh is the underdog (notwithstanding the fact that the odds on Milwaukee are +110, while the odds on Pittsburgh are -135).  If the Brewers would win by two (or more) runs, then they would cover the run-line.  But if the Pirates won straight-up, or lost by exactly one run, then they would cover the run-line.One thing you should understand is that most run-lines (and many point spreads) use half-points in the spread number.  One consequence of this is that a baseball game with a run-line of 1.5 runs cannot end in a tie.  But if the line was two runs, then it could, if the favored team won, say, by score of 5-3.  When a bet ties, gamblers have their stakes returned to them.  All things being equal, sportsbooks prefer to not have wagers end up in a tie, as they would then not earn any vigorish (profit) on the game.Other types of baseball betsThe moneyline, over/under, and run-line bets are all straight bets, and are all popular among the most baseball bettors.  But, just like all other sports, there are lots of other wagers you can make when it comes to baseball.  We'll take two examples of the most popular bets beyond the straight wagers.ParlayThe regular season has almost 2500 games that occur throughout the year.  That means there are a lot of bets you can place, and a lot of money can be made.  If you bet on each game separately -- and you win -- you can earn a nice profit.  But, if you are confident about several matches and really feel like trying your luck, you can place a parlay wager.  That means combining multiple wagers into one bet.  We'll show you an example of how your betting slip might look like when making a parlay bet: Los Angeles Dodgers +140 Washington Nationals -1.5 (-110) Atlanta Braves vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Over 7.5 (-110) Each bet individually would bring in a nice profit, but when you combine these bets, they multiply, and you're in for a real bag of gold.  However, if one of these bets does not win, you lose your entire bet.  That's the risk you're taking with a parlay.Prop betsWhen a new year approaches, it means it's time for new seasons and new winners.  It's the time where bettors start predicting the winning team at the end of the season.  That's where prop betting comes into play.  You could predict the winner of the Super Bowl in the NFL, or the winner of the World Series in baseball. The odds are very appealing as the chances of success are small.  Some other prop bets could be: Pick the winner of the National League Pick the number of strikeouts by a starting pitcher Pick the number of home runs in a game Pick the player to hit the most home runs throughout the regular season And so on and so forth.  Not all sportsbooks have a wide range of Prop bets, but many online sportsbooks do.  Some of the best props are found at BetAnySports, Bovada and MyBookie. What sportsbook offers the best baseball odds? At this point, you know all it takes to start wagering on your favorite baseball games.  You might know the basics of handicapping and how to read the odds, but where do you place your wagers?  You can do so at lots of different sportsbooks.  This ranges from simple brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in Las Vegas to online sportsbooks that offer the possibility to bet on tons of different sports.  Since the competition in the betting industry can be steep, we want to lend you a helping hand with the following factors to consider.  Does the sportsbook have: Competitive odds Your favorite banking methods Welcome and reload bonuses A well-designed and easy-to-use website When you can tick the boxes above, it's just a matter of trying out several options.  It also doesn't hurt to have multiple accounts.  Indeed, you actually SHOULD have multiple sportsbooks so you can shop around for the best lines.  Our #1-rated sportsbook is BetAnySports, which offers the most favorable odds, including a dime line in baseball, and -105 odds on football and basketball games.  Other great options include BetNow, which not only has a baseball dime line up to -190, but also offers a huge sign-up bonus, and BetOnline, which offers a baseball dime line up to -184.With that being said, it's time to put on your baseball gloves and start swinging your bat.  Walk up to the betting window, and start your career as a successful bettor!

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NFL Stock Rising and Falling: Week 5

by Sean Murphy

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020

With COVID concerns running rampant across the league there's plenty of uncertainty in the NFL entering Week 5. It's as good a time as ever to make sense of it all with this week's 'Stock Rising and Falling'.Stock RisingCarolina PanthersAre the Panthers actually for real? That certainly appears to be the case following impressive back-to-back wins over the Chargers and Cardinals. QB Teddy Bridgewater has been a really nice story and he gets a chance to keep it rolling against a very beatable opponent in the winless Falcons this week. Keep in mind, Atlanta will be playing on a short week after getting blown out in Green Bay on Monday night. The Panthers check in as short underdogs.Houston TexansCall me crazy, but I like the Texans a whole lot more now that Bill O'Brien has been relieved of his duties. There's no question O'Brien was holding this squad back in many regards and I look for Houston to play much looser in his absence. The Texans get a nice bounce-back spot on Sunday as they host the Jaguars who come in licking their chops following three straight losses. Seattle SeahawksThe Seahawks have a tremendous opportunity to keep their perfect record intact with a primetime home game against the 1-3 Vikings on Sunday. While Seattle's defense is obviously a problem, it did show some signs of life on that side of the football last week, essentially wrapping up the victory with a late turnover. They'll need to key on Vikes RB Dalvin Cook this week as he's looked outstanding over the last few weeks. Seattle QB Russell Wilson is obviously firing on all cylinders right now and should face little resistance against the Vikes undermanned defense.Stock FallingLas Vegas RaidersThe schedule-makers haven't been overly kind to the Raiders and there certainly isn't a break in sight this week as they head to Kansas City to take on the red hot Chiefs. The Raiders simply aren't built to play from behind as it takes their best offensive piece, RB Josh Jacobs, largely out of the offensive gameplan and puts far too much pressure on below average QB Derek Carr. Las Vegas needs to step up and at least play competitive football to slow the bleeding on Sunday afternoon. Miami DolphinsThe Fins went back in the tank with a loss to the Seahawks last Sunday and there's little reason for much excitement in South Florida - at least until Tua Tagovailoa takes over under center. This week Miami has to travel across the country to face what is sure to be an extremely motivated 49ers squad coming off an ugly home loss to the Eagles last Sunday night. This could very well be QB Ryan Fitzpatrick's last stand before it's Tua-Time.Dallas Cowboys To say that this Sunday's home game is a 'must-win' for the Cowboys would be an understatement. Their reeling thanks to a non-existent defense but catch a break with the lowly Giants coming to Jerry World on Sunday afternoon. QB Dak Prescott simply can't be relied upon to throw for over 500 yards every week, even if he does have an incredible supporting cast at his disposal. At some point the Dallas defense needs to get it together. We'll see if that happens this Sunday.

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Ness Notes: Thursday, Oct 8

by Larry Ness

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020

The NFL kicks off its Week 5 when the 5-1 Bucs visit Chicago to take on the 3-1 Bears. You may just have heard that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Tom Brady in the offseason and after a 34-23 loss in Week 1 at New Orleans (in a showdown with Drew Brees), Brady has looked great in three straight wins completing 65.5% with nine TDs and just two INTs. The Bears are also 3-1 and Brady may just remember his "opposite number" tonight. It's Nick Foles, who played a "game for the ages" when he led the Eagles to a 41-33 win against the Patriots (and Brady) in Super Bowl LII. He was the game's MVP completing 28-of-43 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns plus caught a 1-yard TD pass on the “Philly Special" trick play that ranks as one of the most famous plays in NFL history (note: Brady passed for 505 yards in the loss, with three TD passes and zero INTs in 48 attempts). The Bucs are favored by 3 1/2-points and the total is 44.5. Something to ponder? NFL games have averaged a combined 51.3, the highest through four weeks of a season since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Much more NFL in Friday's Notes. MLB Playoffs: In the NL, Travis d'Arnaud and Dansby Swanson each homered for the second straight day, as the Braves beat the Marlins 2-0. Ian Anderson scattered three hits and struck out eight over 5.2 innings, after he fanned nine in six scoreless innings in a wild card win over the Reds. The Braves are now just the THIRD team in MLB history to pitch three shutouts in the first four games of a postseason, joining the 1966 Baltimore Orioles and the 1905 New York Giants. Clayton Kershaw followed up his gem in the clinching game of the first round against Milwaukee (13 Ks over eight scoreless innings) with six strikeouts and no walks over six innings, although he allowed three runs, including back-to-back solo homers by Machado and Hosmer in the sixth. However, he got the "W," as the Dodgers held on for a 6-5 win over the Dodgers. The Padres were down one with a runner on and two outs in the seventh when Cody Bellinger extended his glove above the 8-foot wall to rob Tatis of what would have been a go-ahead HR. Joe Kelly retired Eric Hosmer on a routine grounder to earn the save after Dodgers All-Star closer Kenley Jansen wobbled (AGAIN) in the ninth. How about this? The Padres became the first team in 20 games this postseason to lose when outhomering their opponent. Over in the AL, the Astros had a chance to sweep A's but the wasted leads of 2-1 and 7-4. Houston's bullpen had stifled Oakland in the first two games with seven shutout innings of one-hit relief but Oakland rallied for three runs in the 7th and two more in the eighth for a 9-7 win. The A's entered the day 1-29 when trailing by at least three runs after the sixth inning in postseason games all-time but saved their season under that very scenario. Liam Hendriks recorded the final NINE outs to preserve a 9-7 win. Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run HR in the eighth inning of Game 3 for the Yankees to become the first player with a HR in each of his team's first five games of a single postseason (has six HRs and 13 RBI in those five games) but it wasn't enough, The Rays' Randy Arozarena homered for the THIRD straight game on Wednesday, while Kevin Kiermaier and Michael Perez also went deep for the Rays, who beat Yankees 8-4. Charlie Morton got the win after holding the Yankees to two runs (one earned) on four hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked two in winning his FIFTH straight postseason decision. Masahiro Tanaka took the loss after allowing five runs on eight hits in four-plus innings.In Thursday's games (listed in order of start times), the Marlins, A's, Yankees and Padres all face elimination. I'd post lines for the games but with pitching staffs being taxed with NO days off in these series, we never quite know when the managers will name a starter, allowing linemakers to post a price and handicappers to make a pick..The CFB weekend opens Thursday night with a C-USA game, as Tulane visits Houston (7:30 ET on ESPN). The Green Wave are 2-1 (0-1 in C-USA), while the Cougars will FINALLY actually get to play a game. Houston has had a Sep 3 home game with Rice, a Sep 19 game at Baylor and a Sep 26 home game with North Texas, all postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. NONE of those games have been rescheduled, so the Cougars will only play a maximum of EIGHT games this season (let's hope). The Cougars are listed as a 6.5 favorite. Friday night at 7:00 ET (also on ESPN), it's an ACC contest when 1-2 Louisville visits 1-2 Ga Tech. The Cardinals entered the AP poll at No. 18 after a season-opening 35-21 win over Western Ky but have since dropped out after conference losses to losses to Miami (47-34) and Pittsburgh (23-20). Ga Tech opened its season with a 16-13 win at Florida St but has since lost 49-21 at home to UCF and 37-20 at Syracuse. Louisville is favored by 4.5 points.Before getting to Saturday's games, let me take a quick look back at last week's results. There were two contests last Saturday featuring ranked teams and as has been the case in the early going, the higher ranked team won and covered in each one. No. 2 Alabama beat No. 13 Texas A&M 52-24 and No. 4 Georgia beat No. 7 Auburn. In top-25 showdowns in 202, the higher ranked team sit 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS. However, in something I have been following (and sharing) for years, playing on ranked teams when matching up against unranked opponents can be dangerous to one's bankroll. So far in 2020, that has surely been the case. There were 14 ranked teams playing unranked opponents last weekend and they not only went just 8-6 SU but also a 'money-burning' 4-10 ATS. That leaves ranked teams 32-10 (.762) SU vs unranked opponents in 2020 but an abysmal 14-27-1 ATS (that's just 34.1%).The two most shocking Saturday upsets last Saturday, lead me into my preview of this Saturday's games. Texas (-11) lost 33-31 at home to TCU, when the Longhorns fumbled at the Horned Frogs goal line on a 1st and goal play with about four minutes to go. The 'Horns dropped from No. 9 to No. 22 in the latest AP poll. Then there was Oklahoma (-7.5) losing 37-30 at Iowa St, giving the Hawkeyes their first win in Ames over the Sooners since 1960! Oklahoma has now dropped back-to-back regular-season games (lost 38-35 at home to Iowa St on Sep 26) for the first time since 1999. The Sooners were No. 3 in the AP poll two weeks ago but the loss to Iowa St dropped them out of the top-25, after spending 64 consecutive weeks inside the AP top-25. As fate would have it, Oklahoma and Texas meet in the Red River Showdown for the 116th time on Saturday. Texas holds a 62-48-5 edge all-time but the Sooners have won 14 of the 21 meetings since 2000. However, the "vibe" is different in 2020 for MANY reasons. The Red River Showdown is one of the most unique games in college football. The are fans split down the 50-yard-line. The State Fair of Texas is bustling just outside the Cotton Bowl gates and the bus rides by the teams through the fairgrounds to the stadium are jam-packed with thousands of fans lining the streets either cheering or jeering. COIVID-19 has changed all that. "To pull into the fairgrounds without anybody there will be a little eerie," Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley said. "It'll be different, there's no doubt. And that's just 2020 right now, I guess." What's more, with Oklahoma unranked and Texas at No. 22, NEITHER school is in the top-20 for this game for the 1st time since 1999! Oklahoma is a 2.5-point favorite.Point of interest, this contest is my 10* Rivalry Game of the Year! BE THERE! Getting back to business, Texas is one of SEVEN games this Saturday in which a ranked team faces an unranked opponent, an unusually small number. No. 2 Alabama is at Ole Miss (favored by 24.5 points) and Notre Dame is home to Florida St (Irish are favored by 20.5 points), among top-10 teams. Notre Dame has won EIGHT straight games, tied for the longest active winning streak among Power-5 schools. However, after just SIX meetings between ranked opponents up until now, there are FOUR such meetings on Saturday. No. 1 Clemson gets its first real test of the season when it hosts No. 7 Miami-Florida (Tigers are favored by 14). No. 3 Georgia is home to No. 14 Tennessee, which also owns EIGHT straight wins (Bulldogs are favored by 12.5). No. 4 Florida is at No. 21 Texas A&M (Gators are favored by 6.5) and No. 8 North Carolina is home to No. 19 Va Tech (Tar Heels are favored by 4.5). One quick 'shout out' to Air Force. The Falcons played their first game of 2020 last Saturday when they routed Navy, 40-7. The MWC originally said the league would not play football in the fall, so Air Force was only scheduled to play Navy and Army. However, the MWC will now play a six-game conference schedule, meaning the 'Fly Boys' will play eight games in all. I mention this because Air Force's win over Navy gave them NINE straight wins, the longest active streak among FBS schools (note: Air Force is 7-2 ATS during its winning run). Air Force will next play Oct 24th at San Jose St.Good luck...Larry

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Top 5 NFL Rankings (Thru Week 4)

by Wayne Root

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020

We’re speaking of the NFL, where it’s topsy and turvy week-in and week-out. It’s like the swinging doors of the Wild West saloons. Expectedly, there have been some major upswings and downward falls. But those are from the lower-tiered teams.  1. Kansas City Never, ever take the defending Super Bowl champions out of the No. 1 spot in the Power Rankings until they lose their first game. Prior to Week 4, no team had started 4-0 in four consecutive seasons. While everyone gives credit to Patrick Mahomes and Coach Reid, Kansas City's underrated defense deserves praise. Kansas City‘s defense looks more capable over the last couple of weeks. It was only a few years ago they ranked number 30 or lower. Now, Kansas City is alone on top of the heap after one fourth of the season is behind us. Maybe a division game will slow them down.  2. Green Bay Rodgers looks as electric as ever and the Packers look very tough to beat. In fact, they may be in their own separate tier above the Ravens and just below the Chiefs. It must have helped motivate Rodgers when Green Bay drafted a rookie quarterback. But it’s all roses now and Aaron even seems to get along with his coach. Look out when his wide receivers get healthy and return and they bank win after win in their NFC North Division games. That offense is playing at an elite level. Aaron Rodgers is clearly in the MVP race.   3. Baltimore  They bounced back in nice fashion against Washington, but it wasn't exactly a big-time test. Even so, you have to win those types of games and move on. The Ravens lead the NFL in points off turnovers this season with 38. Of course that didn’t matter two weeks ago. Against mild manner Washington, Baltimore looked nothing like the discombobulated unit that was getting crushed by the Chiefs. But no one has looked very good against them either. Lamar Jackson is brilliant whenever he isn’t playing the Chiefs or Titans and their team's blitz-heavy defense has been highly effective against everyone but Kansas City. The Ravens have won their games big and have had great production from their ground game. But can they win the big ones: KC or Pittsburgh? 4. Pittsburgh  The Steelers are back and solid. When the Steel Curtain is making headlines, other teams are in trouble. It's (very) early, but they're on pace to record 80 sacks over a full season which would surpass the 1984 Bears' record of ‘72. They have looked solid to this point, especially on defense. If Ben Roethlisberger can get the most out of his weapons, the Steelers may push the Ravens for the top spot in the AFC North. They got a week off because of the postponement due to COVID-19, so they essentially had an early bye that included practice. Will that help or hurt? Pittsburgh prepares for a stretch of 13 straight games, starting at home on Sunday against an Eagles team that finally has some momentum to build on. 5. Seattle  For the first time in Pete Carroll’s tenure, he has unleashed Russell Wilson in the passing game. Wilson has looked like the frontrunner for MVP at this point as he seemingly throws 10 touchdowns a week to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. The offense wasn't as explosive against Miami, but they still scored over 30 points. They are 4-0, but do we know how good they are as a team? Given the long trip, not surprising the team wasn't hitting on all cylinders but can't complain too much about another efficient Russell Wilson performance. The last time the team was 4-0 they made it to the Super Bowl so Seahawks fans are hoping for similar vibes this season.———Looking to move up6. Buffalo 7. Tampa Bay8. New Orleans9. LA Rams10. Indianapolis 

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Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB, NCAAF and NFL Preview

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020

The NFL, college football, and a full slate of four games in MLB Divisional Series action take place on a busy Thursday sports card.A battle of 3-1 football teams kicks off the fifth week of the NFL season for Thursday Night Football. Tampa Bay has won three straight games after they defeated the Los Angeles Chargers last week by a 38-31 score. Chicago saw their three-game winning streak snapped last week in a 19-11 loss at home to Indianapolis as a 3.5-point underdog. This game will be the first time that Brady will face off against Foles in a battle of starting quarterbacks since Super Bowl LII when the Eagles defeated the Patriots by a 41-33 score. With both players playing for different teams, Tampa Bay is a 3.5-point favorite with the total set at 44.5 (all odds from BookMaker). Fox, the NFL Network, and Amazon will all have the broadcast with the kickoff set shortly after 8:20 PM ET.After experiencing five opening-game cancellations already this season, the Houston Cougars hope to kick off their college football season on Thursday night. The Cougars will be anxious to get on the field again after experiencing their worst season in 15 years with their 4-8 campaign last year. Bettors will need to consider how much of an advantage Tulane has with having three games already under their belts. The Green Wave have two wins on the road already at South Alabama and Southern Mississippi, with their lone loss at home to Navy by a 27-24 score in the middle of those two games. They have had a week off after defeating Southern Miss on the road by a 66-24 score in a game that was a transitional point in their season. Houston is a -6.5-point favorite for the rematch on Thursday night with the total set at 60. ESPN has the broadcast. Four games take place in the MLB Divisional Series. The card begins at 2:08 PM ET with the Atlanta Braves looking to close out their best-of-five series with the Miami Marlins. Atlanta took a 2-0 lead in this series on Wednesday with their 2-0 victory over the Marlins. They turn to Jared Wright as their starting pitcher. Miami counters with Sixto Sanchez. The Braves are -140 money-line favorites with the total set at 9. FS1 has the broadcast.Oakland staved off elimination yesterday in their series with Houston with a 9-7 victory. The A’s turn to Frankie Montas this afternoon at 3:35 PM ET to attempt to even this series at 2-2 and force a final fifth game. Astros manager Dusty Baker is going with his veteran, Zack Greinke this afternoon. The game is a pk'em, with each side laying -105, and the total is 9 runs. TBS televises the game.Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead in their ALDS yesterday with the Yankees with their 8-4 win on Wednesday. They will use Ryan Thompson as their opener with the game scheduled at 7:10 PM ET. New York counters with Jordan Montgomery. The Yankees are a -134 moneyline favorite with a total of 9. TBS also televises this game.Los Angeles is up 2-0 in their NLDS after their 6-5 victory over the Padres on Wednesday. San Diego looks to avoid elimination in the playoffs by turning to Adrian Morejon as their starting pitcher. Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts has tabbed Dustin May as his starting pitcher.  The current odds are Los Angeles -171, with a total of 9 runs. This game will be broadcast on the MLB Network with the first pitch at 9:08 PM ET. 

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Thursday NCAA Football: Houston/Tulane Preview

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020

After experiencing five opening-game cancellations already this season, the Houston Cougars hope to kick off their season on Thursday night. Houston had their second game of the season at Washington State canceled in July when Pac-12 postponed their season. Their opener against Rice was canceled in August. COVID issues led to their games with Baylor and Rice postponed with the fifth game against Memphis rescheduled for December 5th. The Cougars will be anxious to get on the field again after experiencing their worst season in 15 years with their 4-8 campaign last year. Dana Holgorsen became perhaps the first college football program to embrace a soft tanking job with a handful of his players' redshirting. Holgorsen claimed his scout team on defense was the “greatest” in college football history by the end of the season, given its collection of redshirt and transfer talent awaiting eligibility. This Cougars team returns 19 starters from last year, along with another 33 new transfers from junior college, FCS, and FBS programs. One of the players who redshirted last season was senior quarterback D’Eriq King who later decided to transfer programs. King finds himself now playing in a Saturday night prime-time showdown on national television with his Miami Hurricanes playing the Clemson Tigers. Houston moved on at quarterback with sophomore Clayton Tune who passed for 1533 yards while completing 59% of his passes in his seven starts. Tune begins his junior as the leader of Holgorsen’s Air Raid offense this season. Bettors will need to consider how much of an advantage Tulane has with having three games already under their belts. The Green Wave have two wins on the road already at South Alabama and Southern Mississippi ,with their lone loss at home to Navy by a 27-24 score in the middle of those two games. Head coach Willie Fritz has a balanced team in his fifth year with the program. Their 441.0 yards-per-game average on offense is the fourth-best mark of American Athletic Conference teams while their 368.3 YPG total defense mark is third-best in the AAC. They have had a week off after defeating Southern Miss on the road by a 66-24 score in a game that was a transitional point in their season. Fritz benched senior quarterback Keon Howard in the first quarter after falling behind by a 14-0 score. True freshman Michael Pratt came on in relief to spark the team to outscore the Golden Eagles by a 66-10 margin the rest way of the way. Pratt completed only 8 of 18 passes, but those completions went for 142 yards with two touchdowns. He added another 40 yards with his legs. Tulane rushed for 472 yards in that game and averaged 7.9 yards-per-carry with seven of their runs reaching the end zone for a touchdown. The Green Wave lost their leading rusher, Tyjae Springs, in that game in a season-ending ACL injury, but Fritz has assembled a deep roster of capable rushers for his run-first spread offensive attack with the program. Cameron Carroll and Stephon Huderson combined to rush for 283 yards on 26 carries with four of those seven rushing touchdowns in that game with each topping the 100 rushing yard marker. Tulane won the meeting last year between these two teams by at home in New Orleans by 38-31 score. That game was the last time that King played for the Cougars as their quarterback, with Houston dropping to 1-3 with the loss. BetOnline has the Cougars as a -6.5-point favorite for the rematch on Thursday night with the total set at 59.5. ESPN has the broadcast. 

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NFL Thursday Night Football: Buccaneers/Bears Preview

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020

A battle of 3-1 football teams kicks off the fifth week of the NFL season for Thursday Night Football.Tampa Bay has responded to their 34-23 loss at New Orleans in the opening week of the season with three straight victories after their 38-31 win at home over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Buccaneers’ head coach Bruce Arians commented after the game that his team would have probably lost that contest last season. They fell behind by a 24-7 score in the second quarter before going into the locker rooms at halftime trailing by a 24-14 score. Tom Brady is the difference for this team this year. He played his best game in a Buccaneers uniform by completing 30 of 46 passes for 369 yards with five touchdown passes to lead his new team to the comeback victory. Brady has thrown 11 touchdown throws this season, tied for the 4th most in the NFL. Tampa Bay has increased the total yardage each week, with Brady also improving his passer rating in each game as he becomes more comfortable operating in Arians’ offense. He has also already thrown four interceptions this year to continue the nagging problem of turnovers that plagued this team last year with Jameis Winston under center. The Buccaneers have outscored their last three opponents by a 97 to 58 margin after that initial loss to the Saints. While the Brady addition to the franchise gets most of the attention, this has become an outstanding defense under the leadership of coordinator Todd Bowles. Tampa Bay’s defense is second in the NFL by holding their opponents to just 64.3 rushing yards per game. The Bucs’ are also third with 14 sacks while ranking second with their eight takeaways. The injury bug has hit this team. Tampa Bay lost tight end O.J. Howard for the season to his Achilles injury on Sunday. The Buccaneers’ top four wide receivers did not take part in Tuesday’s practice to prepare for this game on a short week. Chris Godwin and Justin Watson are out for this game with Mike Evans and Scottie Miller remaining questionable. Running back LeSean McCoy is also out for tonight with his stablemate in the backfield, Leonard Fournette, downgraded to doubtful and a game-time decision with his ankle injury. Ronald Jones III should get the majority of carries for Tampa Bay in this game. Chicago’s injury concerns are not as lengthy. The Bears’ depth in their secondary has taken a hit with defensive backs Deon Bush and Sherrick McManis with doubtful with injuries. Chicago is without running back Tarik Cohen, who is out the season with an ACL injury leaving the backfield duties primarily to David Montgomery. But linebacker Khalil Mack is off the injury report this week after being listed as questionable for each of the first four weeks of the season with his knee issues. Chicago saw their three-game winning streak snapped last week in a 19-11 loss at home to Indianapolis as a 3.5-point underdog. New starting quarterback Nick Foles struggled in a performance that begs the question as to whether or not Mitchell Trubisky would have benched if he had put up similar numbers. Foles completed 26 of 42 passes for 249 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception. The Bears rushed the ball only 16 times for 28 yards for a 1.8 yards-per-carry average. This game will be the first time that Brady will face off against Foles in a battle of starting quarterbacks since Super Bowl LII when the Eagles defeated the Patriots by a 41-33 score. With both players playing for different teams, BetAnySports has Tampa Bay as a 3.5-point favorite with the total set at 44.5. Fox, the NFL Network, and Amazon will all have the broadcast with the kickoff set shortly after 8:20 PM ET.

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How to Read Football Odds

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020

How to read football oddsIt's a cozy Sunday afternoon.  You and the boys want to get together for a classic game of NFL action.  On some game days, you would go to the stadium, and spend lots of dollars on tickets.  But more often than not, you would choose to be in the comfort of your house, and tune in through the television.  Of course, any money saved from not having to purchase a game ticket, can be used as your betting money.  And with the advent of online sportsbooks, getting down on a football game couldn’t be easier.A few minutes before kick-off, you hop online to visit one of the popular online sportsbooks to explore the possibilities.  You immediately notice that you can bet not only on your hometown team, but also on all the other NFL games, as well as college football, baseball, and even soccer games across the pond.  You just found an entirely new world that's welcoming you with open arms.The first thing to understand when you place your bets are the betting odds.  And because there’s not a ticket writer who could educate you on the odds (like you might find in Las Vegas at the Wynn sportsbook), you need to understand the numbers yourself.  In this guide, we'll take you through the betting odds and show you how to get started betting on football straightaway! What are the different types of betting odds? Sports betting is a global industry.  It started centuries ago with sports like horse racing and gladiator fights, and now extends to all sports played, world-wide.  As there are many cultural differences, there are also differences in the way people approach sports betting in different countries and regions.  We'll take you through some of the most popular forms of betting odds, including those used in the United States.Fractional oddsIn the United Kingdom, fractional odds are the most common odds used in sports betting.  Bookies in the U.K. display their sports odds in the form of a fraction.  This shows your potential winnings as a proportion of your stake, indicated by a slash (/).   Let's say the Kansas City Chiefs play against the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.  Each team would get certain odds, so your betting lines might look like this: Kansas City Chiefs 4/5 San Francisco 49ers 11/10 This means, for every five dollars you wager on the Chiefs, you would receive four dollars profit.  When you're wagering $100 on the Chiefs, to learn your potential profit, you would use the following formula:  (Stake / Denominator ) x Numerator = Profit ($100 / 5) x 4 = $80 The fractional odds can be quite difficult if you're not used to them, or are poor at math.  Luckily, most bookmakers and oddsmakers in the United States do not use fractional odds.Decimal oddsAnother major part of sports bettors in the world use decimal odds.  It's another way to display the odds of an individual matchup between two teams.  The decimal odds are the most simple form of betting odds, as they take into consideration a 1 dollar bet instead of otherwise.  Let's say you have a match between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots.  You like the underdog Jets to pull the upset and win.  Thus, your betting slip might look like this as an example:New York Jets 2.65This means that for every dollar you are wagering on this bet, you would get $2.65 in return.  Thus, a $100 bet would bring in $265 as a total payout, so your net profit would be $165 after you subtracted your $100 stake.American oddsIf you've ever been to a Las Vegas sportsbook, you have probably seen the American-style odds.  These are also called the moneyline odds.  In the moneyline odds, the bookmakers clearly show which team is the underdog and which team is the favorite.  The underdog carries the plus sign, while the favorite is associated with the minus sign.  The betting lines might look like this: Minnesota Vikings -175 Chicago Bears +155 The American odds are based on a wagering amount of $100.  To calculate the probability of winning a game for both teams, you get two formulas: Chance of the underdog winning = 100/(positive odds +100) = implied probability Chance of the favorite winning = Negative odds/(negative odds - 100) When we fill these formulas in with the example above we get the following chances of winning: 100/(155 + 100) = 39.21% chance of winning -175/(-175 - 100) = 63.63% chance of winning Now, the very first thing which you will notice in our example above is that the two percentages, when added together, exceed 100%, as they’re 102.84%.  On the surface, that makes no sense.  But the reason for this is that any sportsbook needs to make a profit, so the amount above 100% is its vigorish, or juice.  Here’s a different way to think about it:  the oddsmakers will overvalue the chance that a team has to win, and then they pay out slightly less than the “true odds.”  So, to calculate the true odds, just divide each implied probability by the total of all probabilities added together, or 102.84%.  Thus, the Vikings’ true odds would be 63.63/102.84, or 61.87%, while the Bears’ true odds would be 39.21/102.84, or 38.13%.  And whether you’re playing at an online sportsbook or at a brick-and-mortar one, the odds take into account the amount needed by the house to cover its operating costs per bet.How to calculate your payout with moneyline oddsWith sports betting, it all comes down to the dollar signs, doesn't it?  Let’s say you make 10 NFL bets, and want to know how the final scores will impact your bank account.  Some games might win, while others might lose.  To give you a handle on the potential payout when using the moneyline odds, let's take the following example: Jacksonville Jaguars -160 Cincinnati Bengals +140 As we illustrated above, the Bengals, at +140, are the underdog, while the Jaguars, at -160, are the favorite.  With moneyline odds, we assume each bettor wants to win (or lose) $100.  Thus, you have two possible scenarios for a winning bet: You bet $160 on the favorite, and they win.  Your total payout is $260, which means your profit is $100, over and above your initial stake of $160. You want to risk $100 on the underdog.  Thus, if you wager $100 at +140 odds, you would win $140 on top of your initial stake.  Your total payout would be $240. Betting odds calculatorTo give you a helping hand, many betting sites have a betting odds calculator to calculate the possible amount of money you can win.  You simply fill in the amount you want to wager and the odds provided by the oddsmakers.  Within seconds, you know the exact profits that your bet would deliver.  It's an easy way to check where you're at and whether a bet is worth a wager. What are the most common NFL bets? Understanding the odds is one thing, but making sure you understand football betting entirely is another.  You can understand the odds, but when you don't fully understand the different types of bets in football betting, there's less of a chance you'll end up with profits.  First, we'll show you the basic bets that most NFL bettors use; the more advanced bets will come afterward.MoneylineThe moneyline bet is for gamblers who simply want to predict which team ends up with the higher score -- which team wins.  It's probably the easiest bet to understand.  The moneyline odds show you which team is favored and which team is the underdog, as assigned by the bookies.  Of course, just because a team is favored to win does not mean it will.  When choosing a winner, make sure you do thorough research before placing your bet.Over/underThe over/under is also known as a totals bet.  With this wager, you don't pick a winning team, but instead predict whether the game will be relatively higher or lower-scoring.  In other words, you pick whether the match's overall score will be over or under the number of points given by the oddsmakers.  As an example, let's take a matchup between the Washington Redskins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The over/under could look like this: Over 49 Under 49 You have to predict whether both teams would combine to score more points than 49 or less than 49.  It's as simple as that.  The odds for the over/under bet are usually -110, but that depends on the sportsbook at which you place your bet.Point spreadThe point spread bet is the most popular NFL wager with bettors all across the States.  People simply love betting the spread, and it's for a simple reason.  Unlike moneyline wagers, both NFL sides have a (roughly) 50% chance to cover the spread.  And when you're good at betting the spread, you could be in for a consistent cash-flow which turns your betting hobby into a full-time profession.  But, it does require some skills to get to this stage.With a point spread, you're betting on the margin of victory for each team in any given matchup. The betting lines could look like this, as an example: Cleveland Browns -5.5 (+110) Baltimore Ravens +5.5 (-110) Like a moneyline bet, the point spread has a favorite and an underdog, indicated by the positive or negative numbers.  The Browns are the point spread favorite, and need to win by six or more points to bring you a winning ticket.  On the other hand, the Ravens need to either win the game, straight-up, or lose by less than 5.5 points.  And one of the more exciting things about point spread wagering is that the result of the bet often isn’t decided until a game’s final moments, even if it was known much earlier which team was going to be victorious.Half-pointWith point spreads, the spread number is either a whole number or a half-point number.  When using half-points, an oddsmaker can more easily balance the betting action.  Additionally, a half-point number removes any chance of a game resulting in a push (tie), which is a result not favored by the bookmaker.  Remember, bookmakers are in business to earn a profit, and they cannot earn their vigorish (profit) when they have to refund the bettors’ stakes. How to find the best football odds When you're finding a way to develop your winning sports betting strategy, it's essential to pay attention to the odds.  No matter what kind of bet you make -- whether it's a parlay bet or a moneyline bet -- you need the best numbers and the best odds.  It might not matter too much for one bet, but if you're in this long term, it's essential to find the best odds.  The first thing to understand is that sports betting is a marketplace.  There are hundreds of sportsbooks, and each offers slightly different point spreads and slightly different odds, depending on where its oddsmaker establishes the numbers, and how much vigorish it wants.  The vig, also known as the juice, is the profit a bookmaker needs to operate.  And some sportsbooks offer “reduced juice,” which is a huge benefit for the sports bettor.  For example, our #1-rated sportsbook is BetAnySports, primarily because it offers reduced juice on football and basketball games.  Thus, when you play at BetAnySports, you can lay -105 odds on football and basketball games, rather than -110 odds.The best way to approach finding the best football odds is to shop around.  All sharp gamblers have accounts at multiple sportsbooks and keep a watchful eye on the lines.  The numbers constantly change, and the professionals will always be on the lookout for an extra half-point.  When you choose your sportsbooks, it’s critical to have accounts at those books that have unique odds -- that is, they post their own numbers, and don’t copy the odds of other sportsbooks.  That way, you give yourself the best opportunity to snag that extra half-point.  The best sportsbooks in this regard include BetAnySports, BetOnline, BetNow and Bovada. Whatever you do, enjoy betting.  It can be emotional at times, but always remember to have fun.  Never wager more than you're able to lose -- both emotionally and financially -- and always keep your eyes on your bankroll.  We're here to give you the best advice with our betting guides, anything else to make you a winning sports bettor

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2020 NCAA Football: Fast-developing Trends in the Covid-era

by Tom Stryker

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020

As a college football nation, we are obviously fighting through a very difficult time.  There are limited (or no) fans in the stands, an abundance of testing and several concerns floating around every college team on a weekly basis.  Until the man upstairs decides to bless us with a vaccine or a weakening of this ugly virus, we’ll be forced to adapt our handicapping styles and conform to what may, or may not, be working at the time.The Team Stryker Database has been a lifesaver this football season.  What would normally take hours to research, is available at the click of a button in a matter of seconds.  Earlier this week, I created a COVID-19 set of games and tried to find money-making opportunities within them.  All results listed are from kickoff of the 2020 season through Wednesday, October 7th. PLAY AGAINST any 2020 college favorite priced at -4 or more if they are playing a conference opponent.2020 Record = 33-13-1 ATS for 71.7 percent PLAY AGAINST any 2020 college team if they take the field off a SU and ATS win.2020 Record = 20-10 ATS for 66.7 percent PLAY AGAINST any 2020 college favorite priced at -11 or more.2020 Record = 34-16 ATS for 68.0 percent PLAY AGAINST any 2020 college guest provided they arrive with momentum off a straight up win.2020 Record = 20-8 ATS for 71.4 percent PLAY ON any 2020 college football home dog if they are battling a conference foe.2020 Record = 17-5-1 ATS for 77.2 percent As you can see from the results listed above, the dogs are barking this football season.  Of course, it’s early.  These are simply trends that have developed out of the gate.  As teams progress through the year and offenses and defenses mature, these technical situations will likely change.  The results are certainly interesting and definitely worth noting at least for now. Next week, I’ll be back with a look at what’s working during these COVID-19 times in the NFL.  Best of luck as always men!

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